Canada's longtime goalkeeper dominated penalty kicks and sudden death to win gold in her final major tournament

Canada's longtime goalkeeper dominated penalty kicks and sudden death to win gold in her final major tournament
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Canada's Stephanie Labbé saves a penalty kick.
Canada's Stephanie Labbé saves a penalty kick. Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Sports
  • For the first time ever, Canada's women's soccer team has won gold at the Olympic Games.

  • The Canadians bested Sweden in sudden death penalty kicks to stand atop the podium in Tokyo.

  • Goalkeeper Steph Labbé, who was playing in her final major tournament, absolutely shined in PKs.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Canada women's soccer is finally golden.

The Canadians bested Sweden in sudden death penalty kicks at the Tokyo Olympics to reach the top of the podium for the first time at any major international tournament.

Canada women's national soccer team wins gold in Tokyo.
Canada women's national soccer team wins gold in Tokyo. AP Photo/Andre Penner

Team captain Christine Sinclair - the 38-year-old all-time leading goal scorer, man or woman, in the history of international soccer - has rightfully gotten tons of shine for finally breaking through on sport's biggest stage. But another Canadian veteran absolutely shined in Friday's gold-medal game to officially close out her major international tournament career with Team Canada on the highest of notes.

Longtime national team goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé dominated penalty kicks - and, later, sudden death penalty kicks - to lead Canada's thrilling run to gold against the Swedes. The 34-year-old remained calm, cool, and collected as her opponents looked shaken heading into the do-or-die shootout:

Sweden superstar striker Kosovare Asllani - who doubles as "The Queen" to Real Madrid fans - stepped to the penalty spot first. Labbé - who plays for Swedish club FC Rosengärd when she isn't on international duty - danced across the goal line in an attempt to distract Asllani, and it worked.

The prolific scorer blasted a shot to the right side of the goal that ricocheted off the post and away from the net.

Sweden's Kosovare Asllani hits the post during penalty kicks at the Tokyo Olympics.
Sweden's Kosovare Asllani hits the post during penalty kicks at the Tokyo Olympics. TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images

The next two Sweden shooters - Nathalie Bjorn and Olivia Schough - found their way past Labbé. But with Canada shouldering a 2-1 deficit through three rounds, she stepped up big to swat Anna Anvegard's strike out of the air.

Canada's Stephanie Labbé saves a penalty from Anna Anvegard of Sweden.
Labbé saves a penalty from Anna Anvegard of Sweden. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Canada's Deanne Rose - a 22-year-old fresh off of a successful college career with the Florida Gators - knocked one past netminder Hedvig Lindahl after Sweden's captain, Caroline Seger, launched what could have been the dagger over the crossbar.

Sweden's Caroline Seger launches a penalty kick over the crossbar.
Sweden's Caroline Seger launches a penalty kick over the crossbar. TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images

As if standard penalties with a gold medal on the line weren't stressful enough, the match moved to sudden death penalty kicks from there. Labbé bounced on the line and stared down Jonna Andersson, Sweden's sixth kicker and the country's first in sudden death.

Canada's golden keeper read Andersson correctly, pouncing to her left and successfully blocking the shot:

Canada's Steph Labbé lays out to save a penalty kick.
Labbé lays out to save Jonna Andersson's penalty kick in sudden death. LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images

The massive save opened the door for 20-year-old Julia Grosso to seal the win for her side - gold-medal glory for Canada at long last:

Labbé's efforts proved pivotal in her final major tournament - and made for quite a picturesque ending to her illustrious career.

And thanks to her stellar showing in Tokyo, she's already been promoted beyond her starting role for Team Canada. According to her Wikipedia page, she's jokingly been named the country's "National Minister of Defence."

Read the original article on Insider

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting